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Still Coping with Developments in Wastewater Treatment
India is still in the process of solving problems related to wastewater treatment and finding innovative solutions. Hoshang Subawalla, Business Leader, Water & Process Technologies, GE Energy, India, highlights his views on the wastewater treatment market in India.

Adoption of Novel Technologies for Wastewater Treatment in India
According to Subawalla, the industrial market has seen adoption of hybrid technologies like chemical treatment /pretreatment + equipment technologies such as Membrane Bioreactors (MBR) + reverse osmosis (RO), Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD), etc for wastewater reuse. In many cases the industrial markets are opening up for the process / specialty chemicals too. These solutions have been driven by increasing need for conserving and reusing water in industrial processes. Increasingly, the environmental awareness, social responsibility and operational cost savings through adoption of these chemical technologies are driving the growth in this sector of the water business.

Impact of Latest Innovations in Wastewater Treatment on the Indian Chemical Industry
Subawalla feels that globally, the developments in the wastewater sector are not very different from what India is experiencing right now. Albeit, the presence of numerous industries, tougher regulations and enforcement have driven some of these markets to become much bigger outside India. The shift in wastewater treatment is towards the concept of Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD). This has led to process and system design with equipment such as MBR, RO, UF and evaporators with chemical treatment/ pre-treatment. Increasingly the shift in chemicals is towards (a) polymers, which are much easier to handle, (b) metal removal applications for environment, (c) and process and specialty chemical applications for specific needs in the different industries. The industry is definitely seeing the adoption of hybrid technologies with chemical treatment / pretreatment + MBR + RO, Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD), etc for wastewater reuse.

Water Recycling - A Viable Option Subawalla reveals that water recycling is a function of water availability, cost of water and regulatory environment. As all these drivers for recycling are shaping up in India ?? ¬recycling  certainly makes a viable option for the chemical industry. Water availability is getting scarce (many areas in the country are already in the water stress zone), Industrial water charges are climbing higher or are beginning to be charged (which used to be free or at a nominal cost) and, regulations and enforcements are becoming more stringent, especially for water intensive industries such as steel, power, chemical etc.

All, these drivers are leading to the adoption of recycling techniques - such as process and system design with equipment such as MBR, RO, UF and evaporators along with chemical treatment / pretreatment. Process and specialty chemicals are being adopted to increase recoveries and to minimise waste of water. Recycled water has numerous applications depending on the level of treatment / removal achieved. Most of the current applications for the recycled water are for gardening, flushing and non-drinking applications. However, with the added filtration/treatment process this water can also be used for the production application.

Challenges Faced by Technology Providers of Wastewater Treatment Subawalla is of the opinion that in India, a key challenge would be the 'slow' adoption of newer technologies. Water policies need to be directed towards reduction of the non-revenue water and adoption of newer and latest technologies. These drivers will generate the push towards reuse and recycling of water.

Future Scope of Wastewater Treatment Market
According to Subawalla, wastewater is a very important and high growth area for the industrial and municipal sector. Water scarcity/ stress in many areas of the country and regulation enforcement along with the 'comparatively' better/newer technology adoption at industries would be a driver for 'wastewater' in this sector. Technologies for treatments are well proven and newer more efficient and 'leaner' less energy consuming technologies are finding in-roads. MBR, SBR, MBBR are few such technologies which are finding prominence in wastewater treatment. The adoption of these technologies in the industrial sector and then in the municipal sector will define the scope of the wastewater treatment.